Photo: Johnny Autry; Styling: Leigh Ann Ross
Hands-on Time
30 Mins
Total Time
1 Hour 30 Mins
Serves 4 (serving size: about 1 3/4 cups)

This recipe can be made ahead—just wait to stir in spinach until after you reheat the soup.

How to Make It

Step 1

Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add pancetta; cook 1 minute or until pancetta begins to brown, stirring occasionally. Add onion and next 4 ingredients (through bay leaf); cook 8 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. Add lentils, broth, and 2 cups water; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 40 minutes or until lentils are tender and mixture is slightly thickened. Remove from heat. Discard bay leaf.

Step 2

Place 2 cups lentil mixture in a blender. Remove the center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape), and secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters), and blend until smooth. Return pureed lentil mixture to pan. Add baby spinach, chopped basil, Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, and black pepper; stir until spinach wilts. Serve immediately.

Ratings & Reviews

maniona's Review

November 24, 2013
Great on a cold winter day! I made without the basil because I had none on hand and it was still very tasty!

keefnersa's Review

July 30, 2012
This was such a wonderful recipe. The only thing I did the second time around when making this was I did NOT puree the soup to add back into the soup. Plus I added more pancetta to the soup. YUMMY!!!!

carolfitz's Review

June 13, 2012
This soup was perfect for the run of rainy June days we've had. Mostly made to recipe, subbing bacon for pancetta, adding two cloves garlic & using all broth. Served with salad and rolls.

JenTramontana's Review

June 03, 2012

Clobberella422's Review

May 22, 2012
This was a great soup with just a few minor additions and adjustments. I used bacon instead of pancetta-- cooked two whole slices first, then removed them and cooked the veggies in the fat and crumbled the bacon and added it with the liquid. I added maybe a tbsp total of minced garlic about a minute before adding the liquid, added a can of diced tomatoes and used all broth instead of broth and water. I also didn't bother pureeing any of the soup as it was quite thick enough without it. The flavors were great, and I think it was the fresh bail that really made it. Leftovers are great, too.

GracieO's Review

May 08, 2012
I love this recipe! It is super easy (although you do need to give yourself enough time to let the lentils simmer) and really healthy. I added two cans of diced tomatoes the last time I made it, which added great taste and I think I will continue to do that in the future. (It also made the soup look a lot prettier.) My husband loves it as well -- it is a great, easy, weeknight supper!

Brie30's Review

April 15, 2012
I have made this soup a few times since January and it is a definite keeper. My husband loved it. I also made it for my mother and she loved it as well. The parmesan cheese on top definitely adds a nice counter-flavor for the soup.

ellewis's Review

April 14, 2012
I left out the celery because I didn't have any and I used bacon instead of pancetta for the same reason. I loved it.

ChefAmandaLynn's Review

February 29, 2012
If at the end of the month I am over budget for groceries I play a game with myself to see what I can make based on scraps of meat in my freezer and pantry goods, hence this veggie heavy soup. I really liked this soup, but I made some significant changes. Used spicy italian sausage in place of pancetta, and frozen rather than fresh spinach. The frozen spinach was a mistake, but the sausage added a lot of flavor, I recomend it.

jenniferlovejoy's Review

February 18, 2012
My husband really, really liked this soup so I'll make it again. I thought it was good. Mine turned out really thick, even though I followed the directions to a T. It was tasty, and good. I used bacon and red pepper flakes, because that's what I had on hand. I think maybe I was a little heavy handed on the spices. I will also try a different kind of pepper next time, to give it a little kick. Good soup though.